03 June 2009

Progress by Dribs and by Drabs

Let us begin with this: it's bucketing like mad out there and has been for the better part of two hours. Too bad we don't have a major rain collection system! Two thirds of an inch an hour on our roof is a LOT of water! Thankfully, we have laptops and wi-fi so you can hear about today's progress!

Everything takes ten times as long as you think it will. The rule applies even when you apply the Scotty Principle and tell yourself the task will take ten times as long as you think it will. That logic only makes a thing take ten times ten times longer to complete.

And such has been the building of a raised bed garden. Every day I get a little closer. (Well not today because the road to the organic farm supply place was seriously flooded.) As you will see, I've got the 4th box nearly done and the last one to do. I'm planting as I go. In a month or so I'll have to get the trellises up to hold the tomatoes, squash, and melons. I'm playing with vertical gardening here. That should take exactly three hours of work. Do not tell me to allot more time. Remember the rule stated above?

We have another new toy, too. Um, tool. Did we tell you about it? I can't remember. It's a Craftsman Lawn Tractor. Super duper top of the line blah blah blah.... what's great is it mows a 54" swath and it pulls stuff. Stuff like the little lift-gate trailer that came with the property. The one that holds three wheelbarrow loads of heavy compost. Can you guess I'm getting some good practice at backing up with said trailer?

I'm doing this in stages. As a box gets built and filled the plants go in. Right now I've sunk my cucurbits into the opens spaces of two beds just to give their little roots some room and food. These will be popped out and planted in the row garden. Eventually I'd like to have ten or fifteen of these but I'm NOT building five in one go again!

Lesson learned.

Mr. Fuzzy is in the process of breaking another area as a more traditional garden where we'll plant more tomatoes, more melons, corn, beans, more pumpkins, and lots of cucumbers. The cuckes are a little experiment. Or, rather, several.

Experiment #1 is can a cuke produce if you started them in a pot WAY too early and then tore off the bottom of their styro cups, plonked them into a bed of primo compost to hold them another week while giving the roots some space and nutrition?

Experiment #2 is do cukes do better in some shade or all day sun?

Experiment #3 is will they actually deter racoons and possums from getting into your corn?

We'll find out.

We borrowed a cute little single-row plow from our Yankee Neighbors at the end of the road. She's from the Bronx and he's a dairy boy from the Hudson Valley, a carpenter by trade. They're wonderful people who have been gardening some pretty ravaged land for nearly three decades.

Getting to this point also took WAY more time than Mr. Fuzzy had hoped. The plow was brought over on Monday and we promptly discovered that the tractor hadn't been serviced in a decade. Not so much as an oil change. Off to lovely Meadows of Dan to the tractor store for:

oil --- hydraulic fluid --- air filter --- hydraulic filter ---fuel level indicator --- grease fittings

Can you guess where this is heading? We had already bought a fuel filter in Christiansburg... it wasn't the right one. The oil change went just fine but now that the tractor is clean we can see a few leaks. The manual gave a too-small volume for the hydraulic fluid, our drain pans were woefully small, and we'd forgotten to get hose clamps for the fuel indicator (it's a piece of tubing.) And then there were the grease fittings. First it was a struggle to get them out. Then we discovered that there are two ways to cut a thread and we'd gotten the other one. Mr Fuzzy gave up for the evening and just crammed the old ones in... not too many would leak if the tractor didn't get moved.

Today a little trip to the Napa store and all is well. The old Ford has shiney new grease fittings and a perky yellow fuel indicator to match the yellow lettering on the gearing diagrams.

Next task was locate the drain field. After much scratching of heads over a rather poor record from the County Health Department, we decided to just put the plowed area well away from the house. It isn't where we'd imagined it but it'll do. Not too far, not too steep, and not too ugly. The first three rows have been cut. Then the heavenly spigot opened up and we had to quit our farming for the evening.


Judy B said...

I think it must be a general rule of life that everything (especially involving mowers and engines) will take longer than we prepare for...but looks like you two are making splendid progress!

The Minister said...

Now would you look at that fuzzy-man driving that thing... he almost looks like he knows what he's doing.

Beautiful pictures everywhere. Makes me homesick for somewhere I've never been.

Mrs. Fuzzy said...

Come on home, minister man!